EA Tours Blog
Happy New Year educational travelers!
I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season, and is ready for a year full of student travel! If you ventured to new places, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
To start the New Year off on our educational travel blog, I wanted to share with you a photo of the famed Swiss Guards that stand watch over the Vatican.
A visit to Rome is a must for any of our student groups traveling to Italy. With that, comes a very special visit to Vatican City. Here, students and their teachers will visit the Vatican Museums and end their visit by seeing the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica. When exiting St. Peter’s, the Swiss Guards are stationed to the right.
Take a moment to admire their striking uniforms, maybe snap a pic, and consult your tour guide or guide book if you’re unfamiliar with their history. However, I’d like to share a brief overview of the guards and what their primary job is.
Commander Daniel Anrig has said “It is rare to see a melding together of tradition and modernity as it is realized in the Swiss Guards.” Since 1506, their core mission has remained unchanged in that they are to always protect the Pope and his residence. They are to also accompany the Holy Father on his travels, protect the College of Cardinals during papal transitions, and guard the entrances to the Vatican City. The Pontifical Swiss Guards also provide other security services (visitors’ control, security duties, guard service) as well as honorary services (audiences, receptions, Holy Masses).
What has changed though is the methods in which they go about fulfilling that mission, the guards who respond to the call, and their surroundings. Clothed in the traditional renaissance uniform, the Swiss Guards are highly trained security professionals. The men, who aren’t over the age of thirty, have sought out a different adventure. They leave their native Switzerland for a foreign country, experience camaraderie while perfecting their skills in personal security, strengthening their faith, and learning a new language.
The history of the Swiss Guard is a fascinating one, and I encourage anyone who is interested to learn as much as they can about this very important group of men who watch over the Vatican. If you happen to be traveling to Rome on your next educational student tour, pay a visit to Vatican City to see them for yourself. It’s quite amazing what they do!
Until next time keep on traveling,